Bank Provides Free Gifts to Travelers Via QR Card Signage

First Bank QR CodesTwo things that we always emphasize to our clients when we are planning digital experiences; (1) make sure you are providing value to the user, and (2) don’t out roadblocks in your user’s path. The campaign – which was launched in October – created by TDA Advertising in Boulder for Denver-based First Bank features a series of three back-lit billboards. Using QR codes, travelers passing by are invited to download one of 12 classic novels, crossword or soduku puzzles all for the very special low price of ‘Free’.

The signs provide straightforward instructions on how to use the QR codes, including how to download a reader, and a URL for users who cannot use a code reader. The bank estimated that 7,000 classic novels and puzzles will be downloaded during this five-month effort as part of the bank’s ongoing ‘helpfulness’ campaign.

Scanning the code even from the photo works really well. The mobile site looks great and its easy to download and navigate between the free offers. It’s unfortunate that when an interested user clicks on the small ‘Open an Account’ at the bottom of the mobile page they are dropped at the home page of the First Bank website. I’m a bit lost as to why this button did not link to a mobile friendly landing page for new accounts.

It’s great to see a bank using QR codes so prominently in a campaign, their use is definitely becoming mainstream. It’ll be interesting to see the numbers at the end of the campaign, including most popular downloads, total number of downloads, percentage of QR code uses, clickthroughs to the bank site and of course an increase in new accounts.

CNN Begins Experimenting with On-Air QR-Codes

CNN Impact - QR CodesToday I came across CNN using an on-screen QR Code to direct viewers to additional content on their mobile site. After researching a bit online, it turns out that the cable news channel began using these last weekend.

CNN has consistently been experimenting with social and mobile platforms over the past few years, having been one of the first media outlets to use Twitter to enhance their news coverage.

In this case, the QR Code was used as part of CNN’s Impact Your World Japan feature and when scanned directed viewers to a mobile page where they found links to organizations that are helping in the earthquake/tsunami relief effort.

The QR code was shown on screen at the end of the segment for about 10 seconds, which was nowhere near long enough to find my phone, turn it on, find my QR scan app and point it at the screen. The code did appear like it would be large enough to scan from across the room and I was able to easily scan it from the original photo to the right. It would be a good idea to have the QR Code shrink to the corner of the screen for a few minutes, and have it appear at a size that still be easily scanned without having to dash up to your screen. Older televisions will surely have issues with the dot density of the codes making them impossible to read

We’ve seen ScanLife 2D codes being used here in both the National Post and Metro newspapers in the past few years to link to additional content on the mobile web. I can see how TV news outlets would be eager to use it for the same purpose. I’m looking forward to seeing QR Codes being used more, and to see additional bridges between content mediums including audio triggers as used in the IntoNow iPhone app.

Photo by renaissancechambara

Macy’s Uses QR Codes to Promote Backstage Pass to Spring Style Tips

Macy's QR CodesThe adoption of 2D barcodes over the past year has been steadily increasing. What was once considered an oddity (at least in North America) when we first used one back in 2008 is now being used by more small businesses and mainstream retailers each and every month. We are commonly seeing the 2D barcodes on everything from business cards, sales receipts, product signage and transit ads.

Recently Macy’s introduced QR Codes as part of their Backstage Pass campaign. Shoppers can scan the code or use SMS to access the 30-second videos featuring style tips and fashion advice from Macy’s team of spokespeople including Bobbi Brown, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Tommy Hilfiger.

Martine Reardron, Macy’s executive VP of Marketing said:

“Macy’s new Backstage Pass is an exciting evolution that brings our stable of fashion experts and designers directly to the customer while they’re shopping in our store, through their hand-held mobile devices. By providing fun and informative video features via an easy-to-use, direct-to-consumer platform, we are connecting and engaging our customer in a personal way that enhances and adds a new element to their shopping experience.”

To help explain how to use the QR codes Macy’s created a demonstration video “How to Use Macy’s Backstage Pass” (above), making it available to customers who text “learn” to MACYS (62297) or on the Find Your Magic sitelet, Facebook page or YouTube Channel. Macy’s sales associates will wear Backstage Pass lanyards with instructions on how to use the QR codes. Customers can download a free QR code reader application by texting “reader” to MACYS (62297).

Macy’s and Mobile Technologies

This is not the first time that Macy’s has embraced emerging mobile technologies. It first used 2D codes in magazine ads in 2010 was is of the first national retailers to use Shopkick, a mobile application and platform that allows users to earn points for checking in at stores to receive special offers.

QR Codes a Passing Fad?

QR Codes are not simply a passing fad as seen in the answers to my question posted on Quora. As GPS and image recognition technologies advance and customers become more comfortable with the check-in, I think we will look back at QR codes as merely the critical first step in connecting real world locations to online content including loyalty programs, deals and value-added content.

Matrix Barcodes Link to Classic Cocktail Recipes at the LCBO

LCBO uses QR Codes to direct shoppers to Classic Cocktail recipesAs part of the LCBO (Liquor Commission Board of Ontario) Classic Cocktails promotion, shelf signage for the brands featured in the campaign feature Matrix barcodes.

Matrix (2D) bar codes have been used throughout the rest of the world enabling users of mobile devices to connect with product sites, contest info, coupons or other additional information.

Unfortunately the experience of using matrix barcodes sometimes falls short of providing a great digital experience for the user. Issues with the sizing and positioning of the code happen frequently with inexperienced developers. Adequate instructions should always be provided for uninitiated users and even if everything does go perfectly to that point sometimes an unfriendly mobile experience awaits the user at the destination. You can read more about matrix barcodes in this post I wrote on the Delvinia Blog.

In this case the system worked flawlessly. I opened my ScanLife iPhone app and held it about 6-8 inches away from the shelf signage. The code was immediately picked up and my browser was directed to the  recipe for a Gin Martini made with Tanqueray on the Classic Cocktails mobile web site. At that point I could easily bookmark that with my browser for reference later.

Cheers to the LCBO and their digital team for such a useful application. Now to make myself a Gin Martini.

Originally published at by me.